The Instigator
turnerjb04
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
TheShadowCupcake
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Does God Exist?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/24/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 473 times Debate No: 46568
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (8)
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turnerjb04

Pro

Let us start again due to me not being able to put forward my argument for round 2, just forget about the other debate or leave it somehow, I personally don't know how to leave it, but anyway.

I would like to present the case that God exists and can be known to exist through logic and reason. I will be presenting a number of arguments for God's existence in this debate and wish to show that there are much better arguments for than against the existence of God, but first I wish to present my first argument which is known as the kalam cosmological argument for God's existence and will then the leave the challenge open to people to refute my argument and present some other cases for denying that God exists.

The Kalam cosmological argument is a deductive argument where if the first two premises are true the conclusion necessarily follows, the argument goes like this:

1.Everything that begins to exist has a cause

2.The universe began to exist

3.Therefore the universe has a cause

Now let us analyse and examine whether these premises are true starting with the first premise, everything begins to exist has a cause, is this the case?

Premise One
Now to me it seems very rational to believe the first premise and illogical if you deny it, for if you deny it then you are saying that things can just pop into being without a cause. This kind of thinking is worst than believing in the magic of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat because at least in this case we have a hat and a magician, denying the first premise then means that for you it isn"t illogical to think rabbits can put into existence, thus making it more of stretch than believing in magic. From nothing, nothing comes, you cannot get something from nothing and how can you get something when there isn"t anything? Looking at it from a mathematical perspective 0 + 0 + 0" will never give you one. Also if it is the case that things can just come into being from nothing then why don"t we see this happening all the time? Why can"t computers. horses, bread and milk pop into the middle of your living room? Thus, It is safe to say that scientific evidence, personal experience and logic confirm the first premise.
Now let us evaluate the second premise and see whether this is true, did the universe begin to exist?

Premise Two
Atheists have typically said that the universe has always existed and is eternal trying to avoid the need to bring God into the equation, "The universe is just there. And that"s all." (Bertrand Russell). First let us consider the second law of thermodynamics, this informs us that the universe is running out of usable energy, and that"s the point, for if the universe had been here forever then it would have run out of usable energy by now, the second law therefore points us towards a universe that had a definite beginning. This is further confirmed by a series of remarkable scientific discoveries. In 1915, Albert Einstein presented his General Theory of Relativity. This allowed us, for the first time, to talk meaningfully about the past history of the universe. Next, Alexander Friedmann and Georges Lema"tre, each working with Einstein's equations, predicted that the universe is expanding. Then, in 1929, Edwin Hubble measured the redshift in light from distant galaxies. This empirical evidence confirmed not only that the universe is expanding, but that it sprang into being from a single point in the finite past. It was a monumental discovery almost beyond comprehension. However, not everyone is fond of a finite universe" So, it wasn't long before alternative models popped into existence. But, one by one, these models failed to stand the test of time. More recently, three leading cosmologists Arvind Borde, Alan Guth, and Alexander Vilenkin proved that "any universe which has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be eternal in the past, but must have an absolute beginning." This even applies to the multiverse, if there is such a thing. This means that scientists "can no longer hide behind a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning." (Alexander Vilenkin).

Premise two can also be confirmed to be true from coming to some rational conclusions on the idea of infinite in the real world. If the universe was always there and eternal then this means that it is also infinite, but the question is can you have an actual infinite in the real world, do they exist. Admittedly of course infinites do exist in the realm of mathematics, but this isn"t physical reality what I am referring to is whether you can have a quantifiable infinite in the real world. I would argue that it is absurd to believe you can and that it gets you into real logical problems, for example; if I had an infinite amount of balls in this room and I took five away how many would I have left? Some may say well you have an infinite amount still left or you have infinity minus five, but this is absurd because in reality if I take five balls away I should have literally five less than before if not then it makes no sense and thus leads to absurdities. Rather infinite is never actualised, but it can be a potential. For example; If I had four bananas and added one to it I have five and then add 100 to it I have 105 then add 1 billion then 1 trillion and so on the number would always be going higher and it would be heading towards infinity, but still always be finite because you can always add one more banana even if you have a massive number it can never reach infinity, so it makes no sense to think that this can exist in the real world which means that the universe can not be eternal or infinite, but must have had a definite beginning in the finite past. As philosopher David Hilbert asserted; "The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought...the role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea." Consequently we can confirm the truth of premise two.

Premise Three
Due to the fact that the first two premises are true then the third necessarily follows that the universe has a cause, but what could this cause be what makes sense of this cause?

The Cause of the universe
From conceptual analysis of this cause we come to some startling conclusions:

1. This cause must be One - Based on the philosophical principle of occam"s razor, which posits that we don"t multiply entities beyond necessity and that the simplest, yet most comprehensive explanation, answering the most questions is the best explanation. Thus we conclude that this cause must be One.

2. This cause must be uncaused/eternal - This is because of the absurdity of the infinite regress of events that it would lead to if it wasn"t uncaused.

3. This cause must be Powerful - This is because this cause created the whole universe and all that is around us from the planets, to galaxies and so on.

4. This cause must be all-knowing - This is because this cause created the universe with physical laws and a lawgiver implies knowledge or an intelligence.

5. This cause must be transcendent - This means that the cause of the universe must exist outside of and apart from the universe. This is obvious as the creator of something is not going to be a part of what it creates.

6. This cause must be immaterial - This is clear because since the cause exists apart from the universe it must be non-physical or immaterial. Also a cause is not going to be like its creation/effect, for if you create a house you are not going to be a part of it you can"t become a brick, rather you are outside of it. The cause/creator of matter is not going to be made up of matter.

7. This cause must have a will and therefore be personal - This is a significant conclusion to come to, but how else can an eternal cause bring into existence the finite universe without choosing to bring it into existence, choice indicates a will and a will indicates a personality.

Consequently we have concluded the traditional view on God. That a transcendental, immaterial and uncaused being exists just using conceptual analysis, logical and reason. So we can say that in fact is is quite reasonable to believe that God exists.
TheShadowCupcake

Con



Before rebutting my opponent's argument, I would first like to present my own in order to ensure that my opponent will have something to rebut in the following round.

My argument for the creation of the universe will be that the universe was initiated entirely from nothingness and not God. This seems contradictory, which, surprisingly, is fortunate once you recognize the context as a site in which one must explain an idea logically, even if it may appear self-defeating at first, and also in a way that most would understand.

By the end for this debate, I hope to convince readers that my side will have more supporting evidence, as well as being the more logical choice between the two. I hope something is learned here. Learning is nice fun.

The Cosmos's Crazy (and Credible) Commencement

Before we deduce anything (or rather,
nothing) regarding the beginning of the universe, let's lay out what we know.

The Beginning

Near the beginning, the universe started to expand at an alarming rate. At the
very beginning, the initial state of the universe, it was likely an infinitesimally dense universe.

Now, the argument's just started, and you already have a question. I have the luxury of knowing what you're likely thinking due to being able to read minds in the future (only on Wednesdays that start with an F).

"Cupcake, if the universe was infinitely dense, how would the universe expand? Wouldn't time be frozen just like how a black hole, if infinitely dense, would make time stand still for everyone inside?"

Well, like with all time dilation, this is relative. As the contents of the universe would see no difference, time would not be at a stand-still, especially considering that time was created with the universe.

Time

How does time work? Simultaneously. The idea that two people can observe two different times works as an argument for certainty of all time, which makes the arrow of time (which direction time goes) seems arbitrary. In other, simpler, words, time can go backwards or forwards. Most people see cause-and-effect like this: "I dropped the ball. Because of this, the ball hit the ground." However, cause-and-effect can just as effectively be seen backwards. "The ball hit the ground. Because of this, I dropped the ball."

These two supporting each other makes for circular logic. Something must be capable of holding these up, this something being the need for these things to hold together. To understand this, imagine a bunch of energy, a type of energy that powers a magnet. This magnet is attached to a stick above a metallic energizer, energizing the magnet in order to propel both in a singular direction through the cluster of energy. This cluster of energy charges the energizer as the magnet pulls them through it. The movement of this magnet, along with this energizer, is fast enough to scramble the surrounding matter to make energy, which makes the cluster. This structure is a loop, everything here is dependent on something else within the structure. However, it exists because that is the only way it can exist with those circumstances, so once it exists, it exists in that way.

I hope this is understandable. If not, I hope someone comments for me to explain further. It is an important concept that I will use in the rest of my debate.

Fate

Our universe is accelerating faster and faster. It will do this forever.

Shape


It has no curvature (flat).


Pondering the Paradoxical Precedent of Panexistence


So, what came before the beginning in order to start up the universe?


Nothing. How did that infinitesimally compact space of energy come to be created and expanded, then, my mind reading tells me you're asking. Well, it's likely that, as thought up by Edward Tryon in 1973, the universe has a net energy of exactly and precisely 0. Think of this on a smaller scale.


You are holding a ball. It is not moving. It has no kinetic energy, correct? Drop it. It is now moving. Why? Because of gravity. Conservation of energy says that gravity must be, then, negative energy. It takes energy to keep things apart, positive energy.


Remember what I said about the beginning? The whole universe expanding? Pulling everything apart? Yeah. Cancels out.


Now, this means that things must be always pulled apart just as they are pulled together. If the universe has a curvature and looks like a sphere (the closest word we'd have to such a shape), the universe would loop back around since the negative energy would reach around. Since the universe has been proven to be flat, this means that the universe must have no energy.


As such, my facts come together to allow us to logically deduce that the universe can come from nothing, a void of time, space, and energy as energy comes to 0 in our universe as well.


In the next round, I will address my opponent's points and form counterarguments for them.
Debate Round No. 1
turnerjb04

Pro

Okay thank you very much for your response sir, I found it quite interesting although not very convincing it must be said.

So let me first begin by saying there isn't a great deal for me to refute because much of it is just academia and physics that I have no contention with, but to some degree I really have very little interest in because it isn't really fully getting to the point and that is, can something come from nothing, due to what it understands as nothing.

Now I am going to argue that this claim is nonsensical and self refuting. First and foremost it is important to start with defining what I mean by nothing and what it is understood to mean in all dictionaries and amongst the understanding of the vast majority of people. Nothing is a universal negation meaning "no thing" or "not anything" it is the "absence of anything" it is as Aristotle put it "what rocks dream about" so if your understanding of nothing involves anything at all then this breaches this definition understood by virtually all people, unfortunately as you will begin to learn certain atheists try to redefine nothing in order to attack the first premise.

So with that definition it is irrational to say that something can come into existence from nothing when there is absolutely nothing at all or that being came come into to existence from absolute no being, how can you have something when there is in fact nothing at all. In relation to the universe prior to the big bang or it coming into existence there wasn't even the potentiality of the existence of the universe, but then how could the universe become actual if there wasn't even the potentiality of its being. If in fact all things could come into existence from nothing why don"t we see this happening all the time? Why can"t computers, horses, bread and milk pop into the middle of your living room? Why is it only a universes that can come from nothing, what makes nothingness so discriminatory? There can"t be anything about nothingness that favours universes for nothingness has no properties, nor can anything constrain nothingness, since there isn"t anything to be constrained, why can"t this be seen or observed? The fact that it never has seemingly answers the question. This idea is completely irrational and illogical it is so absurd that even the atheist physicist Doctor Peter Slezek admitted, "Only in academics could people be so ridiculous. Such claims, if made seriously outside of the seminar room would be evidence of clinical derangement." Furthermore science cannot even address the idea of nothing or non-being because science is restricted to problems that only observations can solve. The philosopher of science Elliot Sober verifies this limitation of science in his essay Empiricism, he writes; "At any moment scientists are limited by the observations they have at hand...the limitation is that science is forced to restrict its attention to problems that observations can solve."

Now one of the other issues is that as mentioned people like Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking and so on, redefine what is mean't by nothing and so we have layman athesists proclaiming that in fact things can come from nothing when that simply isn't the case. Stephen Hawking for example in his book "A Grand Design" as statesd by atheists on the website common sense atheism, "the book does not even argue that the universe created itself from nothing, as nothing is usually conceived. Instead, Hawking argues that the universe will create itself from the pre-existing vacuum energy of "empty space," which, is not really empty" [1]. "For "nothing" in their (Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow - the co writer) vocabulary does not have the traditional meaning "non-being" but rather means "the quantum vacuum." [2] So the claim that things can come from nothing using this as evidence is ridiculous as atheists such as Hawking have redefined nothing from its traditional sense and changed it to quantum vacuum, a sea of fluctuating energy that even has a physical structure! So this is seemingly this issue that you have because where you get your idea of nothing from is from scientists and physicists who distort the understand and definition of the term nothing.

Furthermore you haven't presented to me any examples or reasons for me to believe that things can arise from nothing and so that means that my argument still stands as you haven't disproved premise one, you have proved premise two and so the rest follows, that God makes best sense of the origin of the universe.

Now I want to present another argument for God existing, namely the argument from consciousness.

The argument basically goes as follows:

1. The existence of conciousness can only be potentially explained by either materialism/naturalism, panpsychism or theism

2. The existence of consciousness cannot be explained by materialism/naturalism or panpsychism

3. The existence of consciousness is best explained by theism and the existence of God

First of all in order to understand the argument you must understand what I actual mean by consciousness. Consciousness is basically defined as, "the state of being aware of and responsive to one"s surroundings." According to the psychologists Max Velmans and Susan Schneider say regarding consciousness that it is, "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives." [3] It encompasses all your subjective experiences that you have when you see things, feel things or when you think of things etc. Consciousness is generally understood to fall into five main categories; sensations, thoughts, beliefs, desires and a volition or act of free will. Some examples of consciousness would be: when you taste a lemon it appears at a certain flavour to you, the colour red appears a certain way to you, thoughts like what you think about a snickers bar, desires like something you want to eat ice cream for example, a desire to win this debate. These are all examples of states of consciousness.

Now the problem with consciousness is that, consciousness isn't physical it is immaterial, mental or spiritual. You can't see touch, taste, hear or smell a state of consciousness like a thought, belief or desire etc. If a brain surgeon was to examine your brain they would never be able to see your thoughts. So the problem is that if you're an atheist and you start your worldview with the view that in the beginning there was an explosion and particles and matter were formed and overtime they became more complex and were arranged according to the laws of physics and chemistry, forming larger chunks of matter. Now the problem is, is that if you start with just conscious matter and that happens is that it is rearranged according to the laws of chemistry and physics, you will just end up with rearranged matter, there is no room for consciousness to come into existence, for where would it come from, you cannot get consciousness from unconscious matter. Consciousness is a big problem for science, because consciousness being immaterial means it cannot be accessed by the scientific method of empiricism, science can only deal with the physical world. Now this doesn't mean that if you were eating a bar of chocolate for example, that science can't show you brain activity present in your brain at the time of you eating it, science can do that and it can correlate you eating the chocolate bar with areas of your brain, it can correlate the brain and the mind, but it cannot directly tell you or quantify your conscious experience of eating that chocolate bar, because the personal subjective conscious experience is outside the scope of the materialist framework.

For If atheism is true, then all that exists is matter and its various arrangements. If all that exists is matter, then how can you get "mind" from "matter?" But "mind" does exist. Therefore the existence of "mind" (consciousness) is a recalcitrant fact for atheism as philosophical naturalism/materialism. There is another view on consciousness called panpsychism this is the view that consciousness always existed and it is just free floating and has always been there. Now you have to simply respond firstly to this by saying what is the evidence and of course there isn't any because it is just speculation, furthermore it fails because any known form of consciousness is always pegged to an "I", to a subject or individual. You can't have a thought without a thinker, or a feeling with someone that feels, or a desire without someone desiring. It makes no sense and it just wouldn't mean anything. Thus, this also fails.

Now if you're a theist then there is no problem for you at all because the believer in God doesn't say that everything started from the Big Bang, rather the Big Bang may have occurred, but everything was started from God who is a transcendent, immaterial and CONSCIOUS being, who created the universe. So the question of where does consciousness come from is not hard for the theist to answer, because the theist starts with consciousness. Consequently the existence of consciousness points to God a conscious being and seems to really destroy materialism/naturalism.

So now let us tie in everything we have learnt to the original premises

1. The existence of conciousness can only be potentially explained by either materialism/naturalism, panpsychism or theism

This is true as they are the only offered explanations.

2. The existence of consciousness cannot be explained by materialism/naturalism or panpsychism

Fails due to the things mentioned above

3. The existence of consciousness is best explained by theism and the existence of God

Consciousness points to the existence of God, a conscious being.

Reference

[1] http://commonsenseatheism.com...
[2] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
[3] "Introduction". In Max Velmans, Susan Schneider.The Black
TheShadowCupcake

Con

I'd like to tackle something trivial, first. I suppose that will be to the nuisance of everyone reading this. The audience, my opponent, God, etc. However, it makes far more sense to start off my argument with the most trivial thing than to end with it.

To my opponent: I don't like the connotation you're attributing to me.

You implicitly set me up as a "...layman athesist..." I don't like either of those titles being my baggage. A layman has no specialized knowledge. It's been brought up before, due to necessity of support for my arguments, that I'm working on a Doctorate in astrophysics and a Bachelor's in mathematics. Please don't take this as flaunting, I really want it to be known that I'm not simply skimming through some random article on the Internet and pretending I know what I'm talking about. The facts I've put forth are facts that I have studied.

Also, Atheist. It's no secret that people dislike Atheists.[1] Even Atheists don't like Atheists.[2][3] It just so happens that while my argument is Atheist, I am not, and I don't like that title being used on me as it gives people the cited bias against me when they have no reason to.

Thanks a bunch. (: Onwards to business, encountering various cliché boasts, such as "serious sh*t."

Serious Sh*t

In this installment of my series: "The God Debate Put It In Impact Font Why Are You Still Typing What I'm Saying," I will be rebutting first and arguing second. I'll be shortening what Pro has said to save space, then summarizing so as to avoid the necessity of scrolling up. If my opponent feels that this invokes a strawman argument, I will hear the case.

"So let me first begin...nothing."

Here, my opponent states that much of my argument is academia and physics that fails to explain how something can come from nothing based on what it understands as nothing. Of course, my opponent must say "physics" and "academia" to distinguish our arguments. In fact, we are both arguing in terms of cosmogony, but my opponent would like to push our arguments as far as they possibly can be to create a clear distinction in our arguments in areas where there are none rather than simply accepting what I've put forth, even if it's just a small part of my argument.

"...defining...people."

My opponent then invokes the definition as understood by the majority of people when Pro just said that the rebuttal would be considering nothingness as a concept in the eyes of "academia." Fear not, however, for my opponent does not neglect what "academia" has to say about this.

"Now one of...nothing."

In this paragraph, my opponent then says that the idea of nothing is distorted by scientists and physicists. So much for adhering to how academia sees this.

"So with...solve.'"

In this argument, my opponent refutes my argument by saying that we do not see things coming out of thin air. Reductio ad absurdum: Strawman Edition. We don't see computers coming out of thin air. We do not see bread coming out of thin air.[Citation needed]

I mean, sure. It's pretty hard to make computers come out of thin air. I literally can't remember the last time I did that. Those were the days, but those days don't exist. Of course, my argument never validated such an act. In my argument, the energy of the universe cancelled out because the energy it takes to pull the universe apart is negated by the energy it takes to pull it together. I'd like my opponent to explain to me how an ordinary computer, or a horse, or bread, or milk fit into this bound in its entirety?

My opponent says that nothingness can't favor universes. I never said that nothingness did. I'm not saying that the only thing that comes from nothingness is universes. I'm saying that our universe comes from nothingness. How my opponent managed to extrapolate from that to me saying that the only thing a nothingness is capable of producing is universes is beyond me.

Furthermore, my opponent argues that we don't observe things coming from nothing. I had several problems with this argument. Firstly, we don't observe God. After all, He is immaterial, just as immaterial as nothingness. If we observed nothingness, why in the hell would we be arguing this right now!? Empiricism's lack of ability to address an idea falls on nothingness and God alike.

Secondly, virtual particles. We see things coming in and out of nowhere all the time.[4] How? It's because these things cancel out. That's my entire argument. All the energy in the universe cancels out!

"Now I want to...God, a conscious being."

So far, Pro's arguments have gone so: "Something must have created [entity]. [Entity] can only be made by an object with so and so properties. God has these properties. God created [entity]." This hardly solves the problem of our Origin as there's no reason for God to exist over not existing. Between God existing and God not existing, what made Him a necessity? Our universe? Our universe needs Him as a necessity, so it would be circular for Him to need the universe as a necessity. Why would God be created!? There's absolutely no reason at all.

Also, in this portion of my opponent's argument, it's argued that consciousness can't be created from unconscious material because matter can rearrange itself, but it cannot change. This indicates a potential for a poor understanding of Chemistry. Have you ever heard that rearranging the components of a cookie can get you cocaine? You can rearrange the same chemical components of things to get entirely different properties all the time. This is what tends to entice most Chemistry students. These are known as Chiralities and are so iconic in Chemistry that they're even featured in Breaking Bad. Of course, even if it is rated the number one show of all time on IMDB by users all over the world, the show is fictional, but Chiralities are real [5][6][7] and I've provided sources. The YouTube source is purely entertainment and has nothing to do with my argument.

So, if I can take a cookie and make an addictive psychoactive, what's to say I can't take energy and make consciousness?

Now, I'd like to rebut the round prior to that. Yes, I'm arguing in reverse. Things are so much more interesting when you're unconventional and reversed, as the thirty million dollars in the box office for Memento can attest.

Reverse Ruckus: Round 1

"Let us start...leave it, but anyway."

What!? Never! I loved it and I will love no other, I won't just leave it because you got an error! My heart and soul belongs to that debate and no other! I'll never leave it behind, none shall ever replace my beloved! Just you try!

Okay, sure, whatever.

"Now to me...confirm the first premise."

My opponent says that you can't get something out of nothing, and the logic that Pro has to offer is this: "0+0+0 will never give you one." I don't know who taught my opponent this, but I must disagree. What is -1+1? Is it 2? Is it -2? Oh, I'm sorry, I miscounted. Education isn't very sharp these days, I'm afraid. It's 0. 0+0+0 is also 0. So, 0+0+0=-1+1! There's a 1 right there! That's like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, according to my opponent. I've only one thing to say to that!

TADA!

Okay, that was condescending. Sorry. I thought it was a bit funny. There's really no purpose to this website unless you have fun. So, the first premise is already destroyed on a logical scale. You can totally get a 1 from 0, as long as the 1 is cancelled out, and that's just with real sets!

Also, Premise Two's dealing with infinity assumes that infinity is a number when it's merely an abstract concept. Subtracting from it is ridiculous. What's triangle minus 4? What's kitten minus a sideways 7 that looks like a 5? Those are not numbers to have numbers subtracted from. Same with infinity. My opponent's argument that infinity is ridiculous uses this as a basis, but the argument itself is ridiculous. Eternity can exist just fine. The universe will inflate for all the rest of eternity to cancel out gravitational forces. There you go, eternity. Have fun. Don't listen to the mean kids saying you can't exist because they'll throw bananas at you and stuff.

On An Almost Entirely Unrelated Note Regarding My Personal Life Because I'm Very Super Important

To my opponent: I'm going somewhere for the weekend. I don't know when I'll get back and have no idea if I'll get a chance to respond in time without forfeiting. As such, here's my proposal: I write my argument somewhere else, given that I can't reply in time, and post a link to it in the Round after the one I miss. I didn't plan on this, or I wouldn't have accepted this debate. This opportunity came to me today and it's an opportunity I've been waiting for for the past 4 years of my life, so I obviously took its priority over this debate. If that insults you, I actually feel little to no remorse at all. Well, there go those Conduct points. :P

I'm a bit giddy and excited right now. I feel like swooning. I did, in fact. In fact, this whole argument is a product me swooning on my keyboard repeatedly. What are the chances that it's all comprehensible? I mean, wow, am I right? Mkay, bye. Much love. Not really. I don't even know you. If you died next year, I probably wouldn't even notice. That's depressing. I think I'll cry in a corner now. Golly, I'm hyper. Someone congratulate me! [Swoon] I probably missed quite a bit in my rebutting. Be sure to point it out. I'll get around to it eventually. I can't believe it's only been 2 rounds! This debate is VERY fun! I feel like we've been at it forever! Although, according to you, forever can't exist since we can't add any bananas to forever. Poor forever.

Sources
  1. http://www.gallup.com...
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
  3. http://www.scientificamerican.com...
  4. http://io9.com...
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  6. http://goldbook.iupac.org...
Debate Round No. 2
turnerjb04

Pro

Thank you very much for your response sir.

Firstly I would like to start of by saying that I never once suggested that you were in your terms a "layman atheist" and if that was the message that you were given from my rebuttal I apologise, however I think that you also need to learn a few things, humility and respect. I am sorry to say, but overall I feel that you showed me a lack of respect during that last round and so if we are to continue I hope this will change and you become more humble, rather than trying to prove to me you are knowledgeable, this is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned it would be ridiculous to judge an argument as being false due to someone's occupation etc. a valid argument is a valid argument, full stop.

I want to simplify the problem of nothingness because it was dragged on a little I felt. It is really this simple you cannot get something from nothing. When I say nothing I mean "no-thing", "not-anything", "the complete absence of anything" this is very easy to understand. To say that you can get something from nothing is like saying you can have a square triangle it is not possible it is self-refuting and all of the cases where it is put forward by physicists such as Stephen Hawking and Lawrence Krauss it involves not nothing and that's the point, there is no example that can be given to show that something can come from nothing and for good reason, because it is not possible, it is irrational to believe that you can.

You talk about observing God and nothing and all of this stuff, but the point is, is yes you can't observe God, but if things popped out of nothing this could be observed and the fact that you say things can come from nothing is based on science, which is based on empiricism, so if this cannot be observed what is your basis for believing it?, but as mentioned, they are not talking about nothing as universally understood by virtually all people. Also you can't use virtual particles as an example of getting something from nothing, rather they come from the quantum vacuum, a sea of fluctuating energy, that has a physical structure, that is not nothing.

Then you start by rebutting my argument from consciousness with this idea about God and there being no reason for him to exist and as you go on to say "why would God be created" I think the simple way to respond to this is by saying please be intellectually honest and sincere and understand what we are saying when we talk about God, for when you say "why would God be created!? There's absolutely no reason at all" that is a self-refuting claim for God is eternal in his nature and exists necessarily.

You then go on to refute the argument from consciousness by talking about chemistry and how you can rearrange the components of a cookie. You said that "you can rearrange the same chemical components of things to get entirely different properties all the time." Now I have no problem with this, I don't disagree, but you cannot rearrange matter and get mind, you cannot rearrange materials and get something immaterial, for when you say; "what's to say I can't take energy and make consciousness, this implies consciousness is a material thing, to say you make something implies it is material, you cannot make immaterial things it isn't possible for us to do this. So I think your issue with this argument really comes down to understanding consciousness, what it is and why this has been such a problem for materialists, it is known as "The hard problem of consciousness." [1]

Now in regards to infinite and it not existing in the real world you talk about how subtracting from it is ridiculous. First and foremost you have to understand that what I am referring to is that the quantifiable infinite cannot exist in the real world. So when you talk about subtracting from it is ridiculous, that is really the point, because when we talk about the quantifiable infinite not being able to subtracting from it shows that it cannot surely exist in the real world because in reality we can subtract from anything that is quantifiable, this is something that is understood by many mathematicians and philosophers it isn't just something I have made up.

Now to sum up what we have learnt here is that there is no reason to think premise one and two of the kalam cosmological argument are false and so the conclusion follows and I would argue God makes most sense of this conclusion. In regards to the argument from consciousness you have also shown no reason why we shouldn't believe the conclusion to this, so I would argue that they still stand. Consequently I think I have present to arguments for God's existence that are rational and reasonable and still stand up to the scrutiny.

P.s. I hope you have a good weekend and I will look forward to you reply this round, but please try to just focus on the debate at hand, rather than trying to use catchy rhetoric because it really seems to make you look more silly than me, anyway as I say I will look forward to reading your next rebuttal.

References:
[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
TheShadowCupcake

Con

To my opponent: Referring to the last part, I wasn't consciously trying to throw out any catchy rhetoric or silliness. I was simply giddy and excited, it was rather difficult to contain, but I think my logic still got across and wasn't all that clouded. If you say that you didn't mean to set me up that way, I believe you, so I guess I'm okay with everyone ignoring that whole thing and letting it go.

Mindful Materialism

A small skirmish of this debate would be regarding the idea of consciousness and the mind. Pro, my opponent, is absolutely convinced that the mind is immaterial. To rebut this, I'd like to look into artificial intelligence.

My opponent speaks of consciousness as something that involves awareness of one's surroundings, creating subjective experiences, thoughts, beliefs, desires, etc.

Intuitively Reaching Goals

Firstly, I'd like to address the ability to reason in a goal-oriented fashion. If I told you as a child to get the milk from the refrigerator on the highest shelf, what would you do? You know you're not tall enough to get the milk. How can you get taller? You can get a chair! You have the perfect chair upstairs, but you're too small to carry a chair downstairs, so you get a flat, wooden plank to put the chair on to slide down the stairs without the chair getting too damaged! Now, you can't get a good balance on the chair while holding the milk, so you put pillows from your bed around the chair so you can drop the milk safely before losing balance and falling off the chair.

That's a multi-step process that takes a lot of pragmatic reasoning. With an AI, you'd have to break it down. AIs don't know how to do such a thing, so you give them the individual steps. Detect chair. Put chair on board. Slide board with chair on it down the stairs. Etc. It takes a conscious human to reason like this.

However, in 1966, Shakey the Robot was introduced. It was able to make the multi-step process possible. One famous result was it pushing a block off a platform. It was able to enter the room, identify the block on the platform, identify a wedge to push over to the platform, go up the platform, and push off the block.[1]

Another example of thinking up a solution not programmed into a robot would be the hide-and-seek bots from Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing. There, bots were instructed to hide with another bot instructed to find the hiding bot. There were markers all over the place that had to be knocked over for the hiding bots to get to their hiding spots. After a while, the bots were able to learn how the system worked and how the seekers were able to find them, so they messed with the system. They went about and knocked over the markers in a way that would create fake trails.[2]

Here comes my favorite one.

In what I'm about to tell you, robots learned how to manipulate selfishly in a group. In an experiment, a bunch of robots were programmed to get points when they stayed close to food and lose points when they stayed close to poison, with the ability to understand which was which once they got to it to process points. Their goal was to get the most points. Each bot had a blue light attached that they could control, but since the light seemed to do nothing functionally, they simply flashed it randomly.

Because of this, the bots, able to detect the blue lights, learned that a lot of bue light meant that there were a bunch of bots around a certain area which meant food! Each food source had limited points, so this meant that the bots would gain more if they found a food source and kept it to themselves. The bots understood the system on a symbolic level. They understood that the lights were being interpreted as food, so they learned to do the opposite: they lit up like crazy when they found poison to attract as many bots as possible and suppressed their light when they found food.

This means that the bots first intuitively learned that seeing a lot of lights meant a lot of bots, and a higher density of bots meant a food source. Then, they were able to understand that the other bots thought similarly. Then, they learned how to manipulate this knowledge to their own, selfish advantage.[3]

Next, I'll discuss how AIs can connect knowledge to make new knowledge, whether correct or not, using what most would consider as actual imagination or creativity.

Creatively Learning AIs

One of the most famous of these cases would be the Google X Labs visual cortex AI that could learn how to recognize certain things discriminately. This is not simply the facial recognition that everyone has on their phone. That's pre-programmed. Your phone camera is programmed with an idea of a face and looks for them based on that.

Instead, the AI, with no knowledge of what anything looked like, surfed the internet's images and found consistencies and, given time, could learn to create new images based on these. For instance, it saw 10 million cats and humans. Then, it was told to make an artistic rendering, or a drawing, of a cat.



Would you say that that looks like a cat? The AI drew a human face as well.[4]

In another incredible example, researchers were attempting to see what causes schizophrenia symptoms. They thought that this was caused by an overload of details and memories, too much for someone to coherently make sense of. So, to test this, an AI, DISCERN, was given lots and lots of information, disregarding whether the info was relevant or not. Eventually, it claimed that it had planted a bomb.

It was not told, at any point, that it had planted a bomb, but this became part of its database after it analyzed all the contradictory information and deduced the one thing it thought had to be possible. It had planted a bomb.[5]

Finally, here comes the big one.

Socialization

AIs that can socialize. If you don't fall anywhere on the Autistic spectrum (something that I do), socializing can seem pretty simple. People say things and you reply.

However, there are an uncountable number of things that must be considered when socializing. Where you are, what's happening, the person you're talking to, what they're saying, how they're saying it, what responses are coherent, which are appropriate, how those responses will cause the other to react, how the response is made, the timing of the response, etc.

For an autistic peson attempting to consciously work these things out, it's far easier to consciously voice what the process is than for someone who's done it naturally their entire life.

There are so many examples I'd like to use here, but I'm running low on space, so I've picked out one in particular: Watson.

Maybe you've heard of Watson.

Watson was set to play Jeopardy! with a couple of Jeopardy! champions. When asked a question, Watson, who has a large database of knowledge from books and dictionaries and encyclopedias, would look up an answer.

This is different from simply Googling an answer. Books and dictionaries and encyclopedias are worded a certain way. This means that Watson has to actually understand, on a conceptual level in relation to the question, what the database is saying, and to understand it in relation to the question, Watson has to understand the question itself. Then, it has to figure out how confident it is in its answer. If it's not very confident, it does not buzz in. If it was confident, it buzzed in.[6][7]

With hundreds of thousands of millions of algorithms, we were able to build consciousness. We put together millions of processors and out came sentience and awareness. How can anyone say that consciousness is not material? Did God give these machines the ability to think, having them coincide with us giving the machines certain components? Pro's belief that consciousness is immaterial just seems incredibly astonishing to me considering the fact that we are manufacturing consciousness as we speak.

Still Much Ado About Nothing

ZERO. That is "nothing." When something comes to zero, what thing is that!? I've made this point before! If you have zero instances of an item (let's say bananas), how many instances (bananas) do you have? None! You have no-thing, just as my opponent says!

Therefore, if a quantum vacuum has a net energy of zero, regardless the structure of this zeroness, doesn't that make it nothing? My opponent says you can't get something from nothing.

What my opponent means to say is that you cannot get a net something from a net nothing. 0 cannot equal 1. However, the universe is not a net something. Everything in the universe cancels out to 0. I'm running out of space, so I'll attempt to simplify it in the later round, but I feel that this concept is rather easy to understand as it is.

Sources
  1. http://books.google.com...
  2. http://www.gizmag.com...
  3. http://infoscience.epfl.ch...
  4. http://www.nytimes.com...;
  5. http://www.popsci.com...
  6. http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com...
  7. http://www.techradar.com...
Debate Round No. 3
turnerjb04

Pro

Thank you very much for your rebuttal it was somewhat interesting.

I am going to focus mainly on consciousness here due to characters limit. Now I don't disagree with what you are saying and highly respect it, but I think you are simply failing to understand what consciousness really is. Now consciousness is from my knowledge something that the majority philosophers, scientists and philosophers of sciences are clear about in terms of it being a meta-physical and immaterial concept. This is why there is the well-known "Hard problem of consciousness" [1] because of the fact it is not physical, for if it were there would be no problem here and the scientific methodology could easily explain this phenomena and why it exists. Conciousness is defined as - "the state of being aware of and responsive to one's surroundings" [2] or, "the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc." [3] Now the issue or the hard problem of consciousness is about why consciousness exists, why any physical state is conscious rather than non conscious.

"The usual methods of science involve explanation of functional, dynamical, and structural properties"explanation of what a thing does, how it changes over time, and how it is put together. But even after we have explained the functional, dynamical, and structural properties of the conscious mind, we can still meaningfully ask the question, Why is it conscious? This suggests that an explanation of consciousness will have to go beyond the usual methods of science. Consciousness therefore presents a hard problem for science, or perhaps it marks the limits of what science can explain. Explaining why consciousness occurs at all can be contrasted with so-called "easy problems" of consciousness: the problems of explaining the function, dynamics, and structure of consciousness. These features can be explained using the usual methods of science. But that leaves the question of why there is something it is like for the subject when these functions, dynamics, and structures are present. This is the hard problem." [4]

Now as mentioned before the problem is that if you're an atheist and you start your world-view with the view that in the beginning there was an explosion and particles and matter were formed and overtime they became more complex and were arranged according to the laws of physics and chemistry, forming larger chunks of matter. Now the problem is, is that if you start with just unconscious matter and what happens is that it is rearranged according to the laws of chemistry and physics, you will just end up with rearranged matter, there is no room for consciousness to come into existence, for where would it come from, you cannot get consciousness from unconscious matter.

Now you stated that "Pro's belief that consciousness is immaterial just seems incredibly astonishing to me", but I think the issue is that you are so astonished because you don't really understand what we mean by consciousness, so I will try to explain it to you and show you how it can't be physical.

States of consciousness are generally considered to fall into the following categories: sensations, thoughts, beliefs, desires and a volition or act of free will.

1. A Sensation - One level of sensations are things that come through a sense organ. For example, An awareness of the "colour yellow", an awareness of "sweetness", an awareness of the smell of a rose, If I was to see a red object in lighting that makes it look orange to me, I experience it as orange, even though it is actually red. Also a sensation cannot be considered to be true or false, it can only accurate or inaccurate. For example, upon seeing a banana i may say, "I have a sensation of yellow" this sensation is not true or false, rather it can only be accurate or inaccurate.

2. A Thought - A thought is considered to be the mental content that can be expressed in a sentence. For example, snow is white, schnee ist weiss, nieve es blanca. Now all of these sentences have the same content, the content is in my mind, the sentence is on the screen or piece of paper, but the sentence isn"t the same as the thought, you can see the sentence, but you can"t see the thought. A thought is a state of consciousness.

3. A Belief - A belief is something that you consider to be true. A belief is your view of how things are; of what you take to be true, or to be the case. However beliefs aren"t the same as thoughts, for example, thoughts only exist while you"re having them, but you have many beliefs that you are not now aware or thinking of. Thoughts and beliefs are like solid and liquid. They are different states of consciousness.

4. A Desire - A desire is a felt inclination toward or away from something. For example, a desire for a cupcake, a desire not to have a root canal, a desire to be a good friend. Desires are thoughts and not beliefs.

5. A Volition: An Act of Free Will - Volition is defined as the faculty or power of using one"s will. In relation to consciousness it is a mental action or an exertion of effort. This is a state of consciousness, of free will.

The above categories are all examples of states of consciousness, but not one of them is physical because consciousness is a non-physical and immaterial phenomenon. Here just three simple reasons why consciousness and conscious states are not physical:

1. There are things that are true of consciousness that are not true of the physical brain - So if this is true then consequently consciousness and the physical brain cannot be and are not the same thing. So here"s an example, think of a pink elephant, some of you maybe be able to think of putting a blue blanket on it. Now thought is of the colours pink and blue, but there is nothing physically pink or blue in your brain at that moment. If I was to examine your brain right now rest assured, we wouldn"t find those colours of pink and blue. Therefore there are things that are true of consciousness that are not true of the physical brain. This being true means that the physical brain and the phenomena of consciousness cannot be the same thing.

2. There is a "what is it like to feel consciousness"" - This is referring to for example, what it"s like to feel pain or to feel angry or to be about your lunch. Now all of these things mentioned are available from a first person perspective, however there is no first person no first person perspective on what it"s like to be physical, everything that is physical is only available from a third person perspective, for example; Suppose a physicist knew all the physical facts about the universe. Suppose she was blind from birth. Then, all of a sudden, she gained the ability to see. This person would learn some brand new facts. They would be facts about "What it is like to see the colour yellow." Etc. She already knew all the physical facts, but now she gained a bunch of new facts. From this it follows that the new facts she has come to know are not physical. They are, instead, mental facts. Thus, there is knowledge that is not available from a third person perspective. For A scientist can know more about your brain than you do, but he cannot know anything about your mind, about what it is like to be you, unless you tell him. You alone have first person knowledge of your mind, but not your brain. If your mind was your brain, you should be able to have a scientist tell you what is going on in your mind by reading it off what"s going on in your physical brain.

3. Intentionality - This is referring to "of-ness"; "about-ness." Your thoughts/beliefs/sensations are "of" or "about" things, for example: My sensation is a sensation of a tree, my desire is a desire about a cupcake, my fear is a fear of tornadoes. Our thoughts/beliefs/sensations are said to have "intentionality." Which means they are "of" things or "about" things. Pure physical states don"t have intentionality. For example, It doesn"t make any sense to point to an an area of the physical brain and say, "That brain state is about the Second World War." States of consciousness do have intentionality. Therefore, the states of consciousness are not states of the brain. For these three reasons (and others) the 5 conscious states are not physical. Which I thought was quite obvious and self evident anyway, but I wanted to further explain why they aren"t physical.

What about the brain? Well science can establish correlations between the brain and the mind. However, this doesn"t prove that they are the same thing. For example, just because fire causes smoke, it does not follow that fire is the same as smoke, just because I poke you and it causes pain, this does not mean that the thing going on in your physical brain is pain. Now, it is possible that consciousness uses the brain to work, like a driver uses a car to move. However, establishing correlations doesn't prove that they are the same thing.

So when you use examples of of "Al" or "Shakey th Robot" these are not consciousness beings with conscious states, do you think a materilaistic system like that would have desires, feelings, emotions, thoughts of course not. How could that robot have desires to have a chocolate biscuit or feel in love, it couldn't because all of these things are outside the materialistic scope and that's the problem because the atheistic naturalism implies that we are just like robots, just machines made up of arranged matter and so just like you can't have robots with such experiences, you wouldn't be able to have us with conscious states without what I am proposing, a Conscious Being created us in this way with these states of consciousness.

References:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[3] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[4] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
TheShadowCupcake

Con

Conserved Continuation of Consciousness

Pro may call me out as a straw man if I am incorrect, but put concisely, my opponent's argument states that we do not know why any physical structure is conscious, and science cannot answer this question because consciousness cannot be observed directly as it is immaterial, since consciousness is merely a property, not the components that correlate with the property.

I made the argument that because we can build things that cause consciousness, consciousness is material. Pro rebutted that while those components made consciousness, the consciousness itself is immaterial.

This means to relocate it beyond science.

Arbitrary Attributes

I don't believe the opposition sees this, but that argument can be applied to anything, including the concept of God itself. We don't know why consciousness occurs with certain structures (yet), and we may never know.

We also don't know why anything beyond the Planck length just so happens to be where all Newtonian physics stops functioning, even if we know what that entails. We don't know why c must always be measured the same from any perspective going at any velocity, but we know how it works (relativity of time in order to compensate for spatial displacement). We don't know why certain chemical reactions react the way they do, but we know the general rules surrounding them and we know the consistency of these properties, despite unaware of why these specific reactions take place when it could, on a whim, be any other. In the same gait, we don't understand why consciousness is the specific property of a certain structure, making this less a hard problem of consciousness and more a hard problem of existence, to which my opponent answers: "God."

Throughout the entire debate, I have been asking Pro why it must be God specifically, and Pro has politely answered in various and interesting ways. Notwithstanding the Conduct, I must dutifully attack what I've yet to.

My opponent and I agree that whatever caused the universe must be timeless. Creation of the universe is a timeless classic that I'm sure everyone will remember.

Something that I have been disagreeing with the entire debate is the consciousness of the Universe's creation, which is a necessity for a God. My opponent says that God exists because only a conscious being could create a conscious being.

Again, throughout this debate, I've made the argument that the universe is arbitrary, simply existing because it can without influencing anything, existing without fluctuating any energy.

To continue such an argument, I'd like to bring in Knot Theory. Knot Theory, in a nutshell, studies what knots happen and why. The answer comes down to the fact that there is one way for something to be straight (not knotted) and a countless number of ways it can be knotted, making it statistically more likely for something to be knotted.

Can't the universe be the same?

If there is a net energy of zero and a universe with a net energy of zero comes into existence without disturbing anything, why does that need a reason? Do you have earbuds or headphones? A charger, perhaps? Is it in your backpack or your pocket or something else? Take it out. Unless you've meticulously ensured that it doesn't using cable coils or something, it's likely in a knot. Why? Clearly, however this Knot came into Creation, it must have been from a being that has a will, and is therefore personal. It must have come from a being that is transcendent. It must be a being that is powerful, as it created the whole Knot and everything in the Knot. The Creator of this Knot must be One, because that makes things easier to understand.

Or perhaps, as I have asserted before, the Knot is there because there's a higher statistical advantage from the Knot over there not being a Knot. Not Knot < Knot.

The Universe came about, not from God, but because it had a higher statistical advantage. Imagine a wave with no amplitude.

A flat line.

Now, imagine that this line is actually two lines. If one line curves up while another reflects it, those two lines sum up to zero, just as the straight line. The lines must always, ALWAYS add up to zero lest energy be created, violating conservation of energy.

How many ways can the lines be flat? One.

How many ways can the lines be curved? Infinite.

Our universe is a fluctuation. This is how we see the universe, a wave moving in unison with another. It's truly beautiful.

Why does God have to come into the equation?

Going back to the original argument: "1.Everything that begins to exist has a cause

2.The universe began to exist

3.Therefore the universe has a cause"

And so, the Universe has a cause, as everything has a cause, but God does not for God did not begin. Neither did nothingness. If everything begins, it stands to reason the nothing does not begin through simple deductive logic, and, thus, nothingness and God stand even as candidates for our Creation. The only difference between God and nothingness is that God is conscious and intentionally made the Universe while nothingness made it through incident of existence and statistics. God simply felt like doing it one hazy, summer day.

There's also the argument that my opponent makes that AIs are not conscious because we know they are materialistic, which contradicts the concept of immaterial consciousness, and because they do not feel.

I'd like to call Pro out on Goalpost Fallacy.[1][2]

Consciousness's Conditions

Consciousness is will. Consciousness is being aware of surroundings. Consciousness is, stated by my opponent, "sensations, thoughts, beliefs, desires and a volition or act of free will."

We've yet to achieve artificial emotions. Evidently, this evident evidence destroys my evidence.

We are conscious and these materialistic systems are not because we can feel and they cannot. What are feelings? Wills to do things? Do these bots not have wills? The Watson bot had a will. It had wills to answer the questions, it had a will to win the game. The economic bots had wills. They had the will to get the most points.

Is my opponent stating that their drive is different from ours? Why, because it's programmed? My opponent made the argument that consciousness must come from somewhere. While I don't believe it's God, as my opponent asserted, I do believe it's true that consciousness started. It has a CAUSE, the emotions with it. Logically, this means that consciousness is affected by material things and the way consciousness is shaped is CAUSED by fluctuations in environments, so if a single proton or quark or string was fluctuated, even the slightest bit of energy was fluctuated, the consciousness existing right now would not exist as anything even resembling what it does now aside from those given factors. Our consciousness is programmed by everything in the universe to the smallest detail, just like those bots are programmed. Their will is no less artificial than ours, even if their emotions may not be as socially adept.

These materialistic systems fit every criteria for consciousness. Do they have axioms as my opponent says they must? Yes. Do they have senses as my opponent says they must? Yes. Do they have wills as my opponent says they must? Yes. Do they have thoughts as my opponent says they must? Yes. All four/five (I consider 4 and 5 to be the same) criteria are met by systems that were not created by transcending beings with omniscience.


Sources
  1. http://rationalwiki.org...
  2. http://www.logicallyfallacious.com...
Debate Round No. 4
turnerjb04

Pro

Again thank you very much for your rebuttal

Now let's again just try to settle this issue with consciousness because I feel that you have still somewhat failed to understand the argument that I have presented due to simply not understanding the phenomena that I am referring to, as well as misrepresenting my position ("straw man") towards the end of that last round and I do not appreciate the "Goalpost fallacy" assertion simply because you have failed to understand my claims. For I never stated that "AIs are not conscious because we know they are materialistic, which contradicts the concept of immaterial consciousness" and I fail to see where this idea has come from, so let me try to clarify my position and my argument.

The problems of consciousness fall into two categories, the easy problem and the hard problem. The easy problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining the function, dynamics, and structure of consciousness. These features can be explained using the usual methods of science. The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining why any physical state is conscious rather than non-conscious. It is the problem of explaining why there is something it is like for a subject in conscious experience, why conscious mental states light up and directly appear to the subject [1]. For example, suppose I am eating a strawberry, scientists will be able to tell that I am eating something nice, something that I like because they can find neuro-chemical patterns in my brain, but no matter how much we know about the brain we will still not be able to find out what it is like for me when I am eating that strawberry. Furthermore I stated that the problem is also to do with "explaining why any physical state is conscious rather than non-conscious" this is very problematic I suggest if you are a materialist because f you're an atheist and you start your world-view with the view that in the beginning there was an explosion and particles and matter were formed and overtime they became more complex and were arranged according to the laws of physics and chemistry, forming larger chunks of matter. The problem is, is that if you start with just unconscious matter and what happens is that it is rearranged according to the laws of chemistry and physics, you will just end up with rearranged matter, there is no room for consciousness to come into existence, for where would it come from, you cannot get consciousness from unconscious matter. Dr. Ned Block and Dr. J.P. Moreland explained that, "The truth is that naturalism has no plausible way to explain the appearance of emergent mental properties in the cosmos. Ned Block confesses that we have no idea how consciousness could have emerged from non-conscious matter. We have nothing zilch-worthy of called a research programme...Researchers are stumped."[2]

Consciousness is as understood by even the materialist philosophers of the mind as being an immaterial phenomena and as explained in the previous round the most commonly understood states of consciousness are; sensations, thoughts, beliefs, desires and a volition or act of free will. All of these states as explained are obviously immaterial and I know that you know this as well so I find it quite strange that you are arguing against this, they cannot possibly be physical states. So when we talk about robot's and any kind of machinery it is quite clear that they do not have any of these conscious states like we do, if you we being sincere and intellectually honest with yourself I am sure you too would come to such a conclusion. Robots cannot have the free will or volition to choose what it is the want to do, or have desire, a feeling, a belief etc. this is not possible, they are just made up of hard wired machinery.

So to conclude in regards to my argument from consciousness, on the basis that consciousness is true and is something that actually exists ultimately you can chose to do either of these two things really and they are either to, inference to the best explanation of the existence of consciousness and answering the "hard problem" or simply, like many scientists and materialist philosophers of the mind is to just say that we don't know at this time, but as science progresses we will eventually know the answer to these problems in relation to consciousness, it's basically the "science of the gaps" fallacy. The problem with that is that I would argue we can learn as much as we want about the brain and the easy problems of consciousness, but we can not possibly answer the hard problem consciousness with the scientific method because it lies outside of the methodology of empiricism. So it makes sense to reason to the best explanation which would mean that consciousness exists due to a timeless and space less, conscious cause that transcends the physical universe and reasoning on this more we will ultimately conclude the traditional attributes of God, thus God is the best explanation of this phenomena.

Moving on to the next problem that has been present throughout this debate and this is in relation to the first argument that I presented for God's existence. This is really the problem of nothing and the idea of the universe coming from nothing. Now due to characters limit in the last round I wasn't able to respond to this issue, but thankfully I am able to do this now. You have talked about this idea of the quantum vacuum having a "net energy of zero" and that the universe is "not a net something", now I think we are running to some serious problems here it's is quite deceiving I think that you are almost trying to suggest that a quantum vacuum is nothing and the universe isn't something, it sounds quite odd from my perspective. Now you state that "this concept is rather easy to understand", that I don't deny, but that doesn't make it a reasonable explanation. Firstly I think you are clearly demonstrating that you aren't talking about nothing in the realm of philosophy and what is universally understood by all people, "The complete absence of anything" thus it has no properties, so to talk about something being nothing or zero "regardless of the structure of this zeroness" is to talk about a four sided triangle it is just nonsense, it is meaningless, it doesn't exist and makes no sense. What we know and see from physics is that you cannot get something from nothing, in relation to the universe this is something and this means that basically the universe couldn't have popped out of nothingness, rather it must have had an external cause, which you seemed to imply when you said; "I agree that whatever caused the universe must be timeless". To use the quantum vacuum and virtual particles etc. as examples is just a distortion of what we mean by nothing for a quantum vacuum;

"According to present-day understanding of what is called the vacuum state or the quantum vacuum, it is by no means a simple empty space, and again: "t is a mistake to think of any physical vacuum as some absolutely empty void. According to quantum mechanics, the vacuum state is not truly empty but instead contains fleeting electromagnetic waves and particles that pop into and out of existence" [3] The quantum vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy, a rich physical reality endowed with a structure and governed by physical laws, that is certainly not nothing.

So this means that in fact the universe is still in need of some kind of cause because as we know it "everything that begins to exist has a cause" or in other words you don't get something coming from nothing. That said means that the initial argument that I presented for God still stands and as presented above I would suggest that argument from consciousness does too, both giving us good reasons to believe in God's existence. Furthermore I have to say based on the last round I find it even more interesting that you struggle with the idea of God causing the universe to come into existence, as you state; "I agree that whatever caused the universe must be timeless" and so I ask you to be sincere and intellectually honest and unbiased as must as you can, as I ask myself the same, when trying to determine what is true, what is reality.

I would like to end by saying that I thought this was a fantastic debate from my point of view anyway, simply because I feel as though I have learnt some new things and that's is always nice and also I think that my opponent despite our ups and downs throughout the debate is one of the best and most honest and respectful debaters I have seen in a long time and this is a credit to him as well, who articulated some very good arguments for his side and I hope to see another coming very shortly. Finally I urge the voters to be fair and honest and vote on the best arguments, not for the person they like most.

Again thank you very much for the debate :-)

References:

[1] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[2] J.P. Moreland. The argument from Consciousness in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology. Edited by William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland. 2009. p. 340.
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
TheShadowCupcake

Con

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Restating Rebuttals as Responses

In the beginning, my opponent claims that I'm not understanding the arguments put forth. This is what's said verbatim.

"For I never stated that 'AIs are not conscious because we know they are materialistic, which contradicts the concept of immaterial consciousness' and I fail to see where this idea has come from..."

I stated very explicitly stated where I got this impression.

Round 4, last section:
Consciousness's Conditions.

Then my opponent goes on to repeat what was said a few rounds before with a few quotes from scientists since I was clearly not understanding what my opponent was saying.

So, what was my opponent saying? Here was my understanding throughout the debate.

My Understanding (In A Nutshell)

My understanding is this: We do not know where consciousness comes from or why it happens.
The simplest forms of energy and matter that compose the universe are unconscious.
Unconscious material cannot make conscious material through natural means.
Thus, consciousness is not an emergent phenomenon and is immaterial.

Also, unconsciousness cannot be material for it is a property that we cannot observe mutually. One consciousness cannot obersve another consciousness while two consciousnesses can observe something physical like a ball or a chair or a goat. Only the owner of a consciousness can view the consciousness, the thoughts and such. That makes it immaterial. This requires God.
God exists.

My Rebuttals (In A Nutshell, But Not The Same Nutshell As The First One, Because That Would Be Confusing)

My rebuttal was this: For the first point, I conceded and agreed with my opponent.
To the second point, I did not make addresses simply because I was hesitant to claim knowledge of the level of consciousness that different forms of energy exhibit.
To the third point, I made it clear that I disagreed strongly, rebutting with artificial intelligence.
With the fourth point, I made rebuttals towards it by doing so towards the third, which is necessary for the fourth to function.
To the fifth point, I disagreed since this logic is weak. Only one's consciousness can observe one's consciousness, so it's immaterial? We can't observe the decay of an unstable particle, does that mean that radiactive decay of unstable particles are immaterial? I can't see what you see, but that hardly makes it immaterial.

I'd like to explain why my understanding of my Pro's debate is what it is.

The first point that we do not know why consciousness happens appears to be implied by the fact that there's a problem of consciousness at all.
"...it marks the limits of what science can explain."
The second point is implicitly stated
"...you cannot get consciousness from unconscious matter."
The third point is explicitly stated by what implicitly stated the second point.
The fourth point is the only natural conclusion of the third point, and consciousness being immaterial is my opponent's argument.

The fifth point is explicitly stated multiple times.
"If a brain surgeon was to examine your brain they would never be able to see your thoughts." "Now all of these things mentioned are available from a first person perspective, however there is no first person no first person perspective on what it"s like to be physical, everything that is physical is only available from a third person perspective, for example; Suppose a physicist knew all the physical facts about the universe. Suppose she was blind from birth. Then, all of a sudden, she gained the ability to see. This person would learn some brand new facts. They would be facts about 'What it is like to see the colour yellow.' Etc. She already knew all the physical facts, but now she gained a bunch of new facts. From this it follows that the new facts she has come to know are not physical. They are, instead, mental facts. Thus, there is knowledge that is not available from a third person perspective." And so on.

Sure, you can't observe someone else's perspective, but there are hundreds of thousands of millions of trillions of things that can't possbly be observed, and many of those instances are material.

Then, there are, of course, quantum vacuums.

HOW can --->[ ]<--- Form Structure?


Well, this seems like a complicated idea to tackle, so I'll try explaining it in as many ways as I can in the hope that it eventually makes sense to as many people as possible. You're about to become an astrophysicist in under ten minutes. Are you ready? Here we go.

Think of time. Remember time? I think I made a passing mention of it in the First Round. We know that time is simultaneous and so on and so forth. How did a structure like Time come to exist? Well, consider light and Relativity. For those unaware, I'll explain Relativity really fast so everyone here can be Einstein in about 2 minutes.

When we measure light, it's always the same speed. Now, this doesn't seem to fit with classical mechanics. Throw a baseball. If you go as fast as the ball, the ball looks still. If you go half as fast as the ball, the ball looks half as fast as it's really going. If you stay still and look at the ball, you see the ball's speed. Speed is supposed to change based on the observer's speed.

This does not work with light. No matter how fast anyone's ever gone, light has always been measured as the same speed. What sense does that make!? If one person is going half the speed of light, and another person is staying still, how can they both observe the speed of light as the same while observing each other's speed to be different? Is light an illusion? Is light a conscious thing that's tricking us? It can't be going at two different speeds, can it?

Well, what's happening here is time is perceived differently for both people. Speed is measured as distance over time, or d/t. The distance that light is traveling must be the same, lest the effects of the light affect to things at once as one property. Imagine the baseball again. Two people observe the same speed for the baseball despite going different speeds. The baseball can't multiply, allowing each person to observe only one baseball, because then one baseball could hit a can and knock it over while the other person's baseball doesn't. There can't be two baseballs.

So, back to light. What's happening if distance is unchanging between the two perspectives? The only other variable is time. TIME is changing. As you speed up, time speeds up (in the direction you're going, it's the opposite effect in the other direction). This means that even though one person is going faster, the baseball appears to be going the same speed because it's fast forwarded.

Now, in an experiment, two particles were entangled. For those unaware, in Quantum Entanglement, two particles interact with each other despite being separated, like creepy twins communicating from different sides of the world. When observing the evolution of these particles as an external observer, it was easy to see that they were evolving the same way. However, when observing from the perspective of one of the particles, the other particle was different. The evolution was a simulated equivalent of time, meaning time stopped when observed from the outside.[1]

This means that time can be what we call an Emergent Phenomenon. If you go at the speed of light, time stops existing.

Now, consider a video game. I'll use Counter-Strike as an example. In Counter-Strike, bunnyhopping is one of the most widely use techniques in the game. This technique also happens to be unintended. It's a bug, emergent of other properties of the game.

In much the same manner, our universe is emergent of the properties of nothingness. It's hard to understand how something can have properties when nothing, by definition, has zero properties as it would be difficult to understand anything outside the universe. However, consider that logic must apply. If logic does not apply, then we do not have an argument. Logic is, of course, empirical. We cannot prove that 1+1=2 without the empirical evidence that taking one thing and taking another means you now have two things. If, of course, you accept the epistemology that universal logic only exists in the universe, then God is refuted as well as nothingness. However, using our logic, an entity with zero spacetime, zero properties, and zero concepts can have from it emerge the ideas that I have been asserting. Negative and positive spacetime interactions cancel out. Negative and positive properties cancel out. Negative and positive concepts cancel out.

Whether you accept that we can use our logic on transcendental existences or not, a Deistic God is not the most reasonable choice. Without universal logic, all the logic my opponent has applied to prove God fails. With universal logic, it makes sense that something can come from nothing without God. My opponent argues that "What we know and see from physics is that you cannot get something from nothing," but God is something. My opponent also argued that God exists because God is necessary, "God is eternal in his nature and exists necessarily." The idea is that God's necessary as that's the only thing that can support the universe, but the idea of nothingness is equally able to support what we know of the universe. Without God, what impossibility would there be that God must exist for everything to be possible?

To my opponent (this is just thanking and such, audience can ignore this): Dude, thanks so much for this debate. I'm afraid I rushed through it with a busy haze and often even seemed aggressive, but I assure you, I truly enjoyed it. Thank you so much for being an awesome opponent. :) (5 minutes remaining! Nailed it!)

[1] http://arxiv.org...

Debate Round No. 5
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by turnerjb04 2 years ago
turnerjb04
yeah I enjoyed it too and I think voting period is 2 weeks, we should debate again in the future definitely
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 2 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Oh, well. I enjoyed this and would definitely debate with you again (maybe even the same topic with us on switched sides). Again, thanks a lot. Sure looks awkward with me being the only commenter. (I'm a pretty lonely kid.)
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 2 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Didn't have time to spell check my last one. :(
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 2 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Hey, what's the duration of the Voting Period for this?
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 2 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
I'm off for my weekend. See you later, my beloved.
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 2 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Nearly everyone argues for their religion, it's so conventional and boring. God and Atheism has been recognized for thousands and thousands of years. Why should I repeat what's been repeated million of billions of trillions of times already? While, as children, when pondering upon the origin of all that there is, we may have come to the conclusion that nothing was it, or perhaps God, or perhaps even other humans, these ideas took time to be recognized. Nothingness wasn't registered until the 1970s. That's what makes it refreshing.

Why would anyone accept such a debate to make such a straightforward argument? Ugh, wouldn't you be bored? Besides, those aren't my areas of expertise, as you can tell from my profile.
Posted by TheShadowCupcake 2 years ago
TheShadowCupcake
Well, it wouldn't be fun if I picked something that was easy to argue, would it? What's the point of even going on this website? You can pick out easy arguments everywhere in real life. People are always saying things that I can pick apart. Here, I can argue for ANYTHING, that is the entirety of the purpose of this website!
Posted by speyeder 2 years ago
speyeder
Where is the evidence for "nothing"? Why the assumption, that "nothingness" ever existed is so widely excepted is tough to understand.

There is far greater evidence for both the existence and absence of a "God" than there is for "Nothing".
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